Schreiber Flux Quantization on M5-Branes

An article that we are finalizing at CQTS:



Abstract. The M5-brane has been argued to potentially provide much needed theoretical underpinning for various non-perturbative phenomena in strongly-coupled quantum systems (such as S-duality, confinement, skyrmions and anyons), and yet the primary non-perturbative effect already in its classical on-shell formulation has received little attention: The flux and charge-quantization of the higher gauge field on its worldvolume.

This problem appears subtle because of (1a.) the notorious self-duality of the 3-form flux density in the small field limit, combined with (1b.) its highly non-linear self-duality for strong fields, and (2a.) the twisting of its Bianchi identity by the pullback of the 11d SuGra C-field flux density, which (2b.) is subject to its own subtle flux quantization law on the ambient spacetime.

These subtleties call into question the tacit assumption that the M5 brane’s 3-flux is quantized in ordinary cohomology and hence leaves open the rather fundamental question of what the M5-brane’s worldvolume higher gauge field really is, globally, controlling in particular which torsion-charged (“fractional”) solitons actually exist on M5-worldvolumes.

Here we characterize the valid quantization laws of the M5-brane’s 3-flux in (non-abelian) twisted generalized cohomology. The key step is to pass to super-spacetime and there to combine the rational cohomology of the C-field-twisted character map with the “super-embedding”-construction of the on-shell M5-brane fields, of which we give a rigorous and streamlined re-rederivation.

We show that one admissible quantization law of the 3-flux on M5-branes is by 4-Cohomotopy-twisted 3-Cohomotopy, as predicted by “Hypothesis H”. Besides quantizing the bulk fluxes (G 4,G 7)(G_4, G_7) and the brane’s H 3H_3-flux themselves, this law also implies the (level-)quantization of the induced Page-charge/Hopf-WZ term on the M5-brane, necessary for its action functional to be globally well-defined.

Finally we demonstrate how with this flux quantization imposed, there generically appear skyrmionic solitons on M5-branes and anyonic topological quantum states on open M5-branes.


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Last revised on July 6, 2024 at 16:09:55. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.